Berkeley’s doctoral and master’s programs are highly selective. About one in 10 applicants gains admission to the University — a reflection of the programs’ across-the-board excellence. But only about 15 percent of admitted students can be offered prestigious multiyear campuswide fellowships, far fewer than at our private-university peers. While those who receive fellowship awards overwhelmingly choose to come to Berkeley, we lose many other exceptional students to universities with better offers.
Cal has several distinct financial disadvantages when it comes to recruiting top candidates. From 2000 to 2007, tuition and fees for Berkeley graduate students have risen 124 percent for resident and 67 percent for nonresident students. The cost of housing in the San Francisco Bay Area is also extremely high. Recent surveys indicate that our typical financial assistance offer is $3,766 less than that of our competitors when factoring in the Bay Area cost of living.
The financial burden of studying at Berkeley is most keenly felt by international students due to their substantially higher nonresident tuition. To maintain our world-renowned excellence, the University must recruit globally for the best students. A large fraction of international Ph.D. recipients remains in California, founding companies, teaching, and enriching the culture of the state.
Your gift can help keep top grad students coming to Berkeley. In order to maintain the University’s overall excellence, increased funding for graduate fellowships is one of the campus’s top fundraising priorities. To continue bringing the most-talented advanced-degree students to Berkeley, we must provide funding packages comparable to those offered by our private-university peers.
Private universities offer better fellowship packages to more students. All of the major private universities that compete with Berkeley offer a guarantee of five or six years of support to 95 percent of their graduate students. By contrast, when all funding sources are taken into account, Berkeley can offer only four to five years of support to 90 percent of its students in the sciences and engineering, and 50 percent in the humanities and social sciences.
Competitive funding is critical to recruitment. According to a survey of graduate students, when Berkeley’s stipend offer was greater than or equal to a non-UC competitor’s offer, 75 percent of admitted students chose Berkeley; in contrast, when Berkeley’s offer was less than the non-UC competitor’s offer, only 15 percent of admitted students chose Berkeley.